Wayne F. (WWIIpfc) from COLORADO SPGS, CO Reviewed on 6/29/2014...
Excellent movie. Some Hollywood, but mostly close to factual.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
New DVD BULGE has all the FAT put back in!
Michael Ziegler | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States | 05/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The issue of the DVD today has yielded a few surprises. There is some interesting material included in the DVD with the Theatrical Trailer, Interviews with the Director and Robert Shaw and also a short Black and White film is shown on how it was filmed including footage of the German military advisor who insured an accurate detailing of uniforms, events, etc. in this basically fictitious account of the famous battle of world war 2. Now what needs to be said is that this is a polished transfer of the widescreen film. The overture is put back and all of the extras that were usually cut. Including the "Panzerlied" gathering of tank commanders that is sometimes missing from television broadcasts as well as the "save the son but shoot the father" scene. The musical score by Frankel is one of the best made in a war film presentation in a full orchestra by the New philharmonic. They have restored the original soundtrack to the DVD and it is impressive for a movie that was made in the 60's. Someone cared about putting this one back together and it shows! Graphics, scenery, etc. are all very impressive. Although this movie was panned as to accuracy as far as the situation, it is a very entertaining movie and is well remembered by everyone who saw it in the movies when it was released. Seeing it again now, it is as if I were back in that movie house and as if time had not moved on. A GREAT release! Worth it to any fan of this film."
Great picture and audio commentary make Blu-Ray a good buy
Darren Harrison | Washington D.C. | 09/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"BLU-RAY REVIEW I am updating this review (Dec. 9, 2008) to address the Blu-Ray edition of this movie which I feel is worthy of praise. In addition to a very impressive 1080p high definition picture which has nice contrast, vibrant colors and a fantastic level of detail (just witness the Christmas tree and flags in the first scene between Henry Fonda and Robert Ryan), the Blu-Ray also boasts a scene specific audio commentary featuring Director Ken Annakin and actor James MacArthur. The two are obviously very good friends and the commentary strikes a nice balance between technical details, preproduction and filming background and friendly chatter. I found it enjoyable. The Blu-Ray also transfers over the two vintage featurettes and theatrical trailer found on the DVD, but the addition of the audio commentary and the superior high definition picture makes this an easy recommendation for an upgrade from the subpar DVD format. I read the concerns over "fogging"n some of the previous reviews and did not notice it on my Blu-Ray, except in instances when it was obviously a deliberate decision. For the most part this is an impressive presentation. For those wanting the check out the HD picture, the high definition premium commercial-free TV channel HDNet Movies has been showing "Battle of the Bulge" in HD recently.
In the 1960s it seemed to be all the fashion for a host of big name actors to appear in World War II movies. From THE LONGEST DAY to THE GUNS OF NAVARONE, THE DIRTY DOZEN, THE GREAT ESCAPE and BATTLE OF BRITAIN every big name actor made his appearance in big epic war pictures commemorating a war that, at that time, was still fresh in the memories of many. From the extremely realistic (as much as Hollywood will allow) such as THE LONGEST DAY, BATTLE OF BRITAIN and (to a lesser extent) THE GREAT ESCAPE to the more Hollywood-ized versions of the war represented by THE GUNS OF NAVARONE and THE DIRTY DOZEN the quality of the movies was unquestionably epic in nature with varying degrees of historical accuracy. Somewhere in-between the examples above falls BATTLE OF THE BULGE (1965) which purports to illustrate the events of the winter of 1944 in which the Nazi powers sought to separate the American frontlines from their supplies and reinforcements. The movie works well as far as mindless action entertainment and we have some truly great performances by Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Telly Savalas and Charles Bronsan, but it seems as though the script writers threw the history books in the trash and decided to write the battle as they would have liked it to have played out. The result is some truly shocking historical inaccuracies. Firstly, the movie suggests that the Germans were running low on fuel and were desperate to capture Allied fuel depots. In fact the Nazi's had enough fuel for the offensive but suffered due to supply lines that were constantly being bombed by Alied aircraft. The Malmedy Massacre is portrayed here as an organized slaughter of American GI's. In fact, this was not the case. The massacre certainly happened, but it was more of a spontaneous affair. Another historical inaccuracy is in the portrayal of the German armor. The movie gives the impression that the assault was carried out exclusively with King Tiger tanks when in fact many more Panzer tanks were utilized in the offensive. Germany it appears did not have an overabundance of King Tigers. Compounding the movies historical difficulties is the creation by the movie makers of characters to lead the German and American divisions. Most blatently obvious is the character of Col. Hessler (played by Robert Shaw). In fact the officer in charge was a Col. Joachim Peiper. The movie makers also created a fictional character - Lt. Col. Kiley - for Henry Fonda and a Gen. Grey for Robert Ryan and totally ignores the role of Gen. Patton in the struggle. Where the movie gets it right is in the Battle of Bastogne, the use of English-speaking German special forces behind Alied lines to mess up logistics and the fact that the American forces were hopelessly overextended. However, if you are not looking for a history lesson and instead would just like a comic-strip style action movie, then you can do a lot worse. Growing up and seeing this movie on television I found it exciting and exhirating. Taking top honors in the acting department is Robert Shaw as the cold and grittily determined Hessler. The scenes between him and his subordinate Cpl. Conrad (played by Hans Christian Blech) show the deep conflict in 1940s-era Germany between the fanatical Nazi's determined to carry on the fight and the regular citizenry who, although patriotic, wished only for an end to the conflict. The scenes are poignant and revealing and represent some of the best scenes in the movie. Overall this movie is flawed, but its still enjoyable and thought provoking."
DVD Please !
Darren Harrison | 12/26/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a classic war movie. Though lacking historical realism, its still an enjoyable film. Lots of tanks anyway. Big name actors (Fonda, Bronson, Andrews, Shaw, Savalas, and the like). Not really about the real Battle Of The Bulge, it takes some of the events from that famous battle and remolds it into a kinda 'what-if' story about a German armoured spearhead that launches an attack to cut off Allied forces, to buy time to build the new jet aircraft and nuclear weapons and win the war. Names of characters are all fiction. What really disappoints me is that a lot of footage (at least 20 minutes worth) has been cut out from the original print. Please, Warner, release the FULL version on DVD!"
Great action and unavoidable continuity shortfalls
Kevin R. Austra | 06/26/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is a great action story built around the Battle of the Bulge. O.K. so the M26 tanks aren't Tigers and the M24s aren't Shermans. If you are looking to pick apart movies check out the M48/Panther/Tigers in "Patton". The parallels drawn of historical characters isn't bad. The Martin Hessler/Joachim Peiper contrast is good, Robert Shaw(Hessler) does an excellent characterization of the historical accounts written about Peiper (the actual leader of the SS Panzer Truppen). For those who didn't like the movie because it did not re-create the actual battle in detail, read the dislaimer promenently displayed in the credits. It says in essence thath the movie was never intended to re-create the actual battle but to re-enact the spirit of the heroism and actions of the soldiers in the battle and some of the historical events (the 101st Abn Div at Bastogne) that took place. For the real history buffs looking for flaws, the fuel dump that was so eloquently defended by Fonda and Mac Arthur never existed as portrayed in the film. The fuel dump was actually spread out and hidden over several square miles of forest. All in all a great action movie for war enthusiasts"
Restored to its Former Glory on DVD
Kevin R. Austra | Delaware Valley, USA | 12/26/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE is a great war movie. It contains everything you could hope to find a cinematic military classic: Action, tank battles, outstanding pyrotechnics, superb cast, and wonderful soundtrack. Before I continue I want to make it clear that movie THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE should not be confused with the historical Ardennes Offensive. THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE is essentially an action-packed cowboy and indian movie with the Americans as the cowboys and the Germans as the indians. If you watch the film with this understanding you will enjoy it much more.
For the first time, possibly ever, the complete film is presented on DVD in wide-screen. Scenes that have been missing for decades have been restored to the film. Now you can see Lt. Col. Hessler marching between the parked rows of tanks, Hessler's introduction to the English-speaking commandos, the Belgian sniper scene, Charles Bronson's confrontation with Robert Shaw in Ambleve, and the lieutenant (James MacArthur) and his sergeant watching the German advance from a snowy hilltop.
This version is truly wide-screen. In fact, when I premiered this new DVD release, with myself as the sole audience (as my family immediately fled the room), I was amazed at the width of the picture. During my first screening of this edition, I tended to pay more attention to what was going on to the right and to the left of the main characters. This additional perspective, in many ways, makes this almost a new movie.
The DVD is equipped with special features. The movie trailer has been restored and includes alternate takes and dialogue that were not included in the original film. Additionally included are two black and white featurettes on the making of the film. It is also amusing that in one of the featurettes the producer is under the mistaken impression that his production team was using actual German Tiger tanks.
THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE was filmed and released in 1965. The movie was still in theaters well into 1966. Remember that BULGE is historical fiction. If you are looking for an accurate overview of the epic struggle in the Ardennes, pick up a good book on the subject. Unlike other historical fiction, such as SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, which take place in an accurate historical setting, THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE begins with some degree of plausibility and devolves into an action-packed shoot `em up.
Do not misunderstand me. I like action-packed shoot `em ups. In fact, when I returned home from combat in DESERT STORM, the first movie I put into the VHS player was THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE. The bottom line is that this movie has to be judged on its own entertainment merit. Military history is not this film's best suit. However, it has curiously been adopted by many as the definitive story of the battle. It is fascinating to note that many Army Advanced Course captains have screened THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE as a shortcut to prepare group presentations on the 1944 - 45 conflict. In the early 1990's, when I was in Europe putting together an Army staff ride tour of Battle of the Bulge sites in Luxembourg and Belgium, my battalion commander insisted that I include the hilltop "... where the Americans rolled the fuel drums down on the Germans." Once again, history and Hollywood locked in mortal combat.
I did not originally see THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE in a movie theater. It was not until several years after its release that I saw the wide-screen version of this film during my school district's summer film program. Even though there was something odd about seeing a winter venue film on an outdoor screen on a muggy summer night, I was hooked. What a great movie. Unfortunately, THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE became a time-compression casualty when it reached television.
In the greater New York City area, CBS broadcast THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE every year. In the mid 1970s CBS relegated the movie to its late night lineup. In the 1980s that same cut of THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE, complete with CBS' old film splices, found its way to TBS. The film's next stop was a shortened version airing on THE HISTORY CHANNEL and AMC. The recent DVD release finally corrects the injustice done to decades of editing.
Critics of the film have long pointed out that real Sherman and Tiger tanks were not used in the filming and that the Spanish terrain southeast of Segovia and just outside of Valsain does not replicate Belgium. Even in the mid 1960s whole fleets of Sherman tanks were difficult to come by and the only running King Tiger tank is housed in a French military museum. As for the location shooting economy comes into play. In the 1960s Spain was the place to shoot war films and television series.
You could spend days critiquing this film, but I recommend that you chase the critics out of the room and just sit down and enjoy the movie. Make sure the sound is turned up high.